Darger

Henry Darger

Henry Darger

I went this morning to see an extraordinary documentary about Henry Darger that was showing at the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. He lived most of his adult life as a hospital janitor in Chicago. He had spent 7 years of his childhood in an asylum for the mentally infirm or whatever the phrase was back then before the First World War. He had no friends and used to pick through garbage in the streets on his way to and from work. When he died in 1973 his landlord – who luckily happened quite by chance to be involved in the Chicago art scene and knew this was something unique – found his bedsit full to bursting with a 15000 word novel and thousands of paintings, all about a mythical country where children were slaves. It was haunting and moving and shocking and uplifting and everyone should see it. The kind of thing you want all your friends to see too so you can talk about all the issues and debates … terrific.

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